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French writer wins $1.12m Nobel Prize

By Agencies in Stockholm | China Daily | Updated: 2014-10-10 07:52

Modiano lauded for works focusing on German occupation in WWII

Patrick Modiano of France, whose work focuses on the Nazi occupation and its effect on his country, was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday.

The Swedish Academy gave the 8 million kronor ($1.12 million) prize to Modiano "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation".

Modiano, 69, whose novel Missing Person won the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 1978, was born in a west Paris suburb in July 1945, two months after World War II ended in Europe.

His father was of Jewish-Italian origins and met Modiano's Belgian actress mother during the German occupation of Paris - and his beginnings have strongly influenced his writing.

Jewishness, the German occupation and loss of identity are recurrent themes in his novels, which include 1968's La Place de l'Etoile - later hailed in Germany as a key post-Holocaust work.

Modiano owes his first big break to a friend of his mother's, French writer Raymond Queneau, who first introduced him to the Gallimard publishing house when he was in his early 20s.

Modiano, who lives in Paris, is known to shun media, and rarely accords interviews. In 2012, he won the Austrian State Prize for European Literature.

"You could say he's a Marcel Proust of our time" Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, told reporters.

Some of Modiano's approximately 30 works include A Trace of Malice and Honeymoon. His latest work is the novel Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier.

Canadian writer Alice Munro won the literature prize last year.

This year's Nobel Prize announcements started on Monday with a US-British scientist splitting the medicine prize with a Norwegian husband-and-wife team for brain research that could pave the way for a better understanding of diseases like Alzheimer's.

Two Japanese researchers and a Japanese-born US citizen won the physics prize for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes, a breakthrough that spurred the development of LED as a new light source.

The chemistry prize on Wednesday went to two US citizens and a German researcher who found new ways to give microscopes sharper vision, letting scientists peer into living cells with unprecedented detail to seek the roots of disease.

The announcements continue on Friday with the Nobel Peace Prize and the economics award on Monday.

As always, the awards will be presented on Dec 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.

AP - Reuters



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